Over 80,000 infants missed free health checkups: lawmaker [2016/03/02 13:56]

Over 80,000 infants in Korea failed to show up for free basic health checkups, stoking concerns that they may be suffering from parental negligence, a lawmaker said Thursday.

According to Rep. Lee No-geun of the ruling Saenuri Party, quoting National Health Insurance Service data, a total of 80,783 of some 1.07 million infants across the country did not receive their free health checkup as of 2013. This accounted for 7.5 percent of total babies. Under the current health rule, babies must receive seven free health checkups from the age of 4 months to 6 years. The health examination includes development assessment, counseling and health education.

In the case of Seoul City, 10.7 percent of some 176,600 babies missed the checkup, recording the largest number in the country. Busan stood at second highest with 9.3 percent, followed by South Chuncheong Province and Gyeonggi Province, with 8 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively.

The Government has annually funded free health checkups for infants as part of its welfare projects. As of last year, the government covered about 220,000 won ($180) per baby for the health checkup package. This led to the spending of 63.5 billion won in total, officials said.

“Despite the huge budget spent, there is a large number of babies who missed the health checkup. (The government) needs to thoroughly probe the causes and even consider checkup visits,” Lee said. “If suspected of child abuse, (the authorities) must look into the cases with the police.” The NHIS, however, noted that other factors may have affected the figure, such as lack of awareness or schedule conflicts for double-income parents.
출처: 헤럴드미디어 영자신문 코리아헤럴드 (www.koreaherald.com)